Lee Poh Ying is a 62-year-old grandmother with her hair bundled up in a hairnet, one of a growing number of older people in Singapore trying to stay fit and active in a fast-greying society with an average life expectancy of 81.4 years.
Ballet was Lee’s childhood dream, but it took her decades before she finally had the time and freedom to pursue it. “My mother did not allow me to learn ballet, saying I should focus on my studies, and that dance was not a well-paying job,” she said. “I could only admire the girls in my school dance, and then secretly try the moves in my room.”
Now the former supervisor at an electronics factory, who retired in 2002, dances with other adult students every Sunday morning at a community centre near her suburban apartment. “I like ballet a lot. It makes me very happy. I will continue dancing until I cannot dance,” she told AFP.
Singapore, like other affluent Asian societies such as Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong, is grappling with an ageing population because of falling birth rates and longer lifespans. By 2030, 20 per cent of Singaporeans are forecast to be 65 years or older, according to official statistics.
By 2030, 20 per cent of Singaporeans are forecast to be 65 years or older, according to official statistics.
The government has been encouraging senior citizens to lead healthy lifestyles, and elderly Singaporeans are taking it upon themselves to explore various forms of exercise including dance.